6 tips to be a great central midfielder

6 tips to be a great central midfielder

Wed 03 April 2019

Football Training Tips

There are many different types of central midfielders meaning you can learn inspirational styles from a range of midfield footballers. The diversity of skills required to master the role make it extremely competitive amongst players.

There are action-based players like Paul Pogba who always wants the ball and drives their team on. Players like Andres Iniesta, who constantly wants the ball only needing one touch or one pass to cause havoc for the opposition. Steven Gerrard could hit a shot from 35 yards with unnerving accuracy and
N’Golo Kante will steal the ball from the opposition and turn defence into attack in seconds. These are just some examples to highlight the diversity of players that you can learn from to
become a great central midfielder.

Despite the variety of the role, there are some tips that every great central midfielder needs to remember. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you master the role and show the power of Pogba and the incision of Iniesta.

Always be on the move

The middle of the pitch can be the most crowded area, which can make it difficult to get on the
ball at all – let alone in time and space. The best central midfielders are those who are always
on the move, becoming a nightmare for the opposition to mark and popping up in pockets of
space which they’ve spotted but the other team haven’t thought to cover.
Don’t just focus on where the ball is but think about where it needs to go and how you can
create new attacks for your team. What you do when you don’t have the ball is almost as
important as what you do with it.

Play with your head up

Vision is a skill to master. While there are creative and visionary players who can see things that
others do not, there are many ways in which you can improve your own vision.
The most basic is by playing with your head up. Scan the horizon all the time, especially when
you don’t have the ball. You might notice that three of the opposition’s defence are positioned
on the right and so if you receive possession, you’ll know to switch the play to the space that
has created out on the left. The ability to spot gaps and openings is a massive weapon for a
central midfielder to have, and it all comes from keeping your head up.

Master your first touch

A good first touch is vital anywhere on the pitch, but it’s even more important in central midfield.
Being able to control the ball effectively will give you more time to work when the football is in
your possession. A bad first touch will allow the opposition to close you down quicker or may
result in you surrendering possession completely, putting your team under pressure.

Don’t be afraid to shoot

How often do we hear the phrase “guilty of overplaying” with football on television? Don’t be afraid to shoot if you get a sight of the goal in a good position. Some of the best midfielders in the world are considered so because of their value when it comes to chipping in with goals – if you don’t shoot, you aren’t going to score.


Keep it simple and stay composed

You need a good range of passing to be a great central midfielder, but the most important pass you can play is the simple one. 60-yard raking balls and switching the play from one flank to the other may look spectacular, but they are a risk even for the best players in the world.

Keeping it simple is often the best choice. You’re less likely to surrender possession with short and sharp passes since they force the opposition to chase the ball– therefore creating fatigue and potential openings for you to exploit. If it works for the coaching legend Pep Guardiola, it should work for you!

Learn about your teammates

A central midfielder has more connections with their team than any other player. A central midfielder is at the heart of everything and plays a key role. It’s the position that threads defence with attack and left with right. Therefore, knowing everything about your teammates is important.

If you know you’ve got a defender who is comfortable playing the ball out, then you can drop short to give and receive it from them with confidence. If your striker likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender, you know that they’ll always be anticipating a through ball to run onto.
Developing relationships with the 10 other players on the pitch and every member of your squad will help you to become a great central midfielder.

Repetition and self-discipline

Becoming a great central midfielder is difficult, but with hard work, practice and a focus on self-development, it is achievable. The position is extremely competitive and even the professionals consistently find ways to improve their performance. A top central midfielder will play a key role in the success of their team. As with any sport, practice is integral to development– so finding the time to play match football will be key to becoming the best central midfielder that you can be.

We Make Footballers believe that dominating in 1vs1 situations and the 6 tips above are key to becoming a fantastic midfielder. We have helped over 2000 children join grassroots teams and 180 players sign at professional academies through our pathways.

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